Flavours of the Old City

Treat yourself to a tasty journey back in time through Istanbul’s historic Old City and the backstreets surrounding the iconic Grand Bazaar. You will discover the neighbourhood’s best eateries and dine where the locals do. Ignite your tastebuds with foods cooked by the masters, following generations-old recipes. 

You’ll make more than 8 different stops during your foodie walk, with a variety of samples at each: starting with Turkish breakfast and street foods, to famous Turkish kebabs and desserts cooked over a wood fire. Flavours of the Old City is your chance to immerse yourself inside Istanbul’s historic food scene and acquaint yourself with Turkish culture and habits.

Tour Details

Tour Schedule:

  • The Flavours of the Old City tours depart daily at 09:30 am and are approximately 6-7 hours in duration. View tour calendar here.

Included:

  • All food and drink along the tour, including bottled water as you need.
  • A friendly, knowledgeable and passionate English-speaking tour guide.
  • A day filled with culinary, cultural, historic and personal anecdotes, with a local’s insider view of Istanbul.

Group Size:

  • COVID-19 Update: tour group size 2-5 people until 28th February, 2021.
  • Tour group size 2-8 people after 1st March, 2021.
  • We also cater for private groups.

Price:

  • Adult: US$110
  • Child (6-12): US$65
  • Infant (0-5): Free

Cancellation Policy:

  • Risk free 100% refund if you cancel 24-hours before tour start.

Tour Photos:

Click on photos to enlarge.

Meeting & Finishing Point:

  • Flavours of the Old City tour explores Istanbul’s historic Old City, and we meet to begin our tour in the heart of Eminönü, close to Spice Market. The exact meeting point and detailed directions will be provided upon booking.
  • This food tour finishes in Kadınlar Pazarı in Zeyrek. Your guide will help you to find a taxi back to your hotel or direct you towards Grand Bazaar (20 minutes walking distance).

What to Bring & Wear:

  • An empty stomach and your appetite!
  • Casual and comfortable shoes and clothing.
  • Our tours depart rain or shine; if rain is forecast you might like to bring an umbrella for the short walking distances between food stops.

Tour Highlights

Market-sourced Turkish Breakfast
You will start your morning as locals do - at the Spice Bazaar gathering an assortment of Turkish breakfast items, including cheeses, buffalo cream, olives and simit. You'll sit down at a local tea house to enjoy your kahvaltı with a glass of freshly-brewed Turkish çay and menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs). Your guide will share stories about culture and daily life while you'll wonder if this could be your favourite breakfast ever.
Streets of the Old City & Grand Bazaar
Your guide will take you on an exploration through the backstreets surrounding the Grand Bazaar, of one of the world’s oldest and most significant markets. You will eat your way through the narrow laneways where the local tradesmen ensure only the most delicious restaurants survive. The panoramic view of the city from the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque will be your reward for climbing one of Istanbul’s seven hills and ascending many winding staircases. A dish of the locals’ all-time favourite foods, kuru fasulye (beans cooked in tomato paste) will be a welcome treat for your hungry tummy.
Kadınlar Pazarı
Translated as Womens' Market; here you'll find traditional butchers, kebab restaurants, spice, cheese and honey shops all surrounded by 1600-year-old Roman aqueducts. Kadınlar Pazarı is one of the very few ethnic open-air markets in Istanbul and is the perfect escape for carnivorous foodies. You will embark on a short market orientation before sitting down for a vast late lunch. Your journey ends with a spread of 4 main courses (you must try the famous büryan – pit-roasted lamb), 3 side dishes and 2 desserts!
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Tour Itinerary:

Your tour will start with you sitting down to a local market-style breakfast of foods you have sourced fresh from the market. You can take your time eating your kahvaltı and sipping your çay the way that Turks do. 

Following your breakfast, you will start exploring some of the oldest streets in Istanbul, beginning at the Spice Market and embarking along your journey toward the Grand Bazaar. Along the way, we taste döner kebab and künefe, fresh off the traditional wood-fired barbeque and bound to be one of your favourites. Then, make a small rest stop for Turkish coffee inside a historic 300-year-old Ottoman Han.

Once we arrive at the Grand Bazaar, we will wander some of the area’s most authentic streets before climbing up to the impressive gardens of Süleymaniye Mosque. (Note: we do not enter inside the mosque) After enjoying the panoramic Bosphorus views from atop one of Istanbul’s seven hills, you will sit down to enjoy one of Turkey’s most traditional dishes at a 100-year-old restaurant.

You’ll feast your tastebuds on local favourites like kokoreç (we’ll tell you what that is later) and beyran çorbası from the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants adored by locals. As you wander the historic back streets, you’ll experience more than 15 different food tastings during your day.

Finally, your tour will finish amidst 1600-year-old Roman aqueducts with a traditional Anatolian-style lunch – prepared just the way central Anatolians have enjoyed it for generations. Immersing yourself into the authentic tastes of Turkey is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip and a memory to look back on for a long time.

A day spent exploring Flavours of the Old City is sure to surprise and delight your taste buds and unearth the local charms of Istanbul’s Old City.

FAQs:

Please note that there are some stairs and steep walking on our Flavours of the Old City tour. If climbing stairs is a problem for yourself or any of your guests, please do consider booking another of our tours.

The walking distance of our other tours is around 2-3kms over flat terrain. The pace is generally comfortable for everyone.

If you have any other mobility concerns, please advise us during the booking process so we can consider options with you. While at most of our food stops and restaurants we sit down at tables and chairs to enjoy our food, there are usually just 1-2 stops where we will eat standing up.

We highly recommend taking our food tours at the beginning of your visit to Istanbul; this will allow you plenty of time to revisit the vibrant neighbourhoods off-the-beaten-path and also enjoy returning to your favourite food tasting locations. We’ll have lots of recommendations for you to keep you out of the path of “tourist traps”.
Yes, all of our tours operate rain, snow or shine. In the event of inclement weather, we will be able to enter inside many of the establishments we visit. You should still dress appropriately for the day’s weather conditions as walking outside is unavoidable.

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Tour Calendar:

Other Food Tours in Istanbul: